Knowledge management and organizational learning

This article provides an overview of knowledge management and it's role in organisational learning.

Written by William R. King it was presented here as part of the pre-reading for the AEA17 flipped conference session: Moving from knowing about an evaluation method to knowing how to use it well.

Key points

(Notes from Jane Davidson:)

  • There are: "“know what,” “know how” and “know why” levels of knowledge."
  • "“Know what,” knowledge specifies what action to take when one is presented with a set of stimuli. For instance, a salesperson who has been trained to know which product is best suited for various situations has a “know-what” level of knowledge."
  • "The next higher level of knowledge is “know-how” – i.e., knowing how to decide on an appropriate response to a stimulus. Such knowledge is required when the simple programmable relationships between stimuli and responses, which are the essence of “know-what” knowledge, are inadequate. This might be the case, for instance, when there is considerable “noise” in symptomatic information so that the direct link between symptoms and a medical diagnosis is uncertain."
  • "“Know how”-type knowledge permits a professional to determine which treatment or action is best, even in the presence of significant noise."
  • "The highest level of knowledge is “know-why” knowledge. At this level, an individual has a deep understanding of causal relationships, interactive effects and the uncertainty levels associated with observed stimuli or symptoms. This will usually involve an understanding of underlying theory and/or a range of experience that includes many instances of anomalies, interaction effects, and exceptions to the norms and conventional wisdom of an area."


W.R. King (ed.), Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning, 3 Annals of Information Systems 4, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-0011-1_1, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

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